Food Review: Equilibrium @ Capitol Piazza | Modernist Italian flavours at play
The Place When I first heard the name Equilibrium, I couldn’t make out what kind of cuisine the restaurant serves. Opened slightly more than a month by same group behind Italian restaurant Supply & Demand at the new dining destination Capitol Piazza, the name is a geeky play on its concept of striking a balance in its dishes, and perhaps to complete the Supply and Demand equation. With a duplex layout and cosy setting at level one of the relatively new mall, it is no wonder why the restaurant was packed on a Friday evening.
The Food The modernist cooking technique is the one factor which left an impression on me after my meal. With a focus on tapas servings and a bold range of Italian creations not yet found in Singapore, I must say the team has an ambitious vision to twist our impression of Italian food. For a start, the Parma Ham and Foie Gras Crostini ($15) arrested my taste bud with its explosion of flavours in the slice of toasted bread, and it also helped that I was very hungry to begin with. Pair it with cocktails if you fancy, with tea pairing choices such as earl grey and camomile!
The Calamari Alla Griglia ($15), or Grilled Squid with Citrus Air, is one Italian dish not found in Singapore yet. The modernist technique at play here is evident from the Citrus Air, with its foam-like presentation. I profess that I do not like grilled squid to start, while this was flavoured by butter and infused with fennel, chilli and mint, the overall taste was somehow still bland for my liking. Nothing exceptional here.
Another new Italian dish offered is the La Bombette ($9.50), grilled skewers of pork belly and minced pork wrapped with grated parmesan, oregani and chilli flakes, paired with smooth spicy garlic lemon dip. This is another dish which doesn’t sound Italian at all, instead I will tend to associate this with Japanese Yakitori. Found the minced pork meat too powdery and dry, saved by a the well-grilled pork belly and awesome dip!
Comparatively, the Panelle ($12), a traditional Sicilian fried fritters made from gram flour, was a delight for me. Paired with Spicy Garlic Aïoli, Mango Chutney sauces, and cucumber salad, the texture and taste reminded me of our local Wu Xiang (egg fritters), savoury yet punchy in taste, which was perfect as tapas.
For mains, we had the Lostata Di Manzo ($39), Aged Beef Ribeye from New Zealand dry aged for 28 days. It was a pity that the beef was too well done for me, such that it was hard to appreciate the intense marbling which might be originally present.
And no Italian meal is complete without some pasta and pizza, where there are no overlap in flavours between Equilibirum and Supply & Demand. The Maiale Funghi Alla Aglio Olio ($19) is an attempt to create a local Bak Chor Mee flavour, with its play of minced pork and vinegar flavouring. On first bite, the taste did invoke my senses, with a taste of familiarity. Full marks for the creativity, but I found it a tad too oily and salty. I guess some fine-tuning will do fine in perfecting the dish for that much needed equilibrium.
Any self-professed truffle lover will love the strong truffle scent of the Sull’imbrunire ($27). However, the taste fell flat for me due to its pedestrian flavour from the mix of relatively commonly seen ingredients in pizza, such as mushrooms and ham. That said, this can something to order for sharing, just not as a main course by itself.
The desserts here are arguably the epitome of modernist technique, for me. With an aim to distort the individual’s perception of what is visually presented, the Deli Dolce ($21) already succeeded even without me trying. The platter of what seems to be cold cut meats are all meant to be desserts, with flavours such as the Raspberry and Green Apple Prosciutto, Chocolate Saami, Milk Chocolate an Caramelized Onion Pâté and Whisky Caramel Jelly and Bacon Jam.
Rants The one month old restaurant seems to overstretch itself in giving its diners options, and I say, too many options. The small kitchen, packed seating arrangement and lack of trained staff cannot manage the stress of a complicated menu. Hopefully it is a teething issue for this new restaurant, and be fair, we were impressed by how hard the staff tried to make the restaurant function in the packed dinner crowd.
Will I Return Again? There are exciting selections on the menu and a few signatures-to-be at Equilibrium. Will definitely return again to give their other mains a go, but probably in a few months time when the dust settle and when demand meets supply again in perfect equilibrium.
Taste bud: 3/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
15 Stamford Road #01-86
Tel: +65 6384 4069
Daily: 11.39am to 2.30pm, 6pm to midnight
Ranted by The Ranter and Rantee
Equilibrium is one of the worst restaurant I’ve been to in a long while. The mussels were poor quality and cheap. Our order was wrong and it took an hour for the right order to come. And when it came, portions of it were lukewarm. Service was appalling. Don’t mind paying for good food and service, but this definitely is NOT a place to look out for.